A 28-year-old New Lambton woman was today sentenced at the Maitland Local Court after being convicted of fraudulently obtaining, and attempting to obtain, more than $63,000 in Pay As You Go Withholding (PAYGW) tax credits in her income tax returns. A reparation order was also made for the full amount of the fraud, meaning the money fraudulently claimed will now be available again for the community.
This sentence means that Mrs Sarah Trow will be confined to her residence for 15 months under strict supervision and will be subject to electronic monitoring.
“If you’re caught breaking the law we will hold you accountable, even if it means pursuing you in the courts,” said ATO Acting Assistant Commissioner David Mendoza.
Between 2013 and 2016, whilst receiving Centrelink benefits, Mrs Trow claimed she worked at one time or another for MEGT (Australia) Ltd, Queens Wharf Brewery Pty Ltd, G.J Rollings & W.J Rollings, Ltd and Woolworths and earned a total income of more than $95,000.
Mrs Trow was found to not have been employed by any of these companies for the financial years lodged and therefore not entitled to the refunds claimed.
G.J Rollings & W.J Rollings was also found to have ceased operation in 2006.
In 2015, Mrs Trow lodged two income tax returns for the 2005 and 2007 financial years. Mrs Trow claimed she was employed by Katherine Regional Enterprise in 2005 and Wild Surf Co Pty Ltd in 2007 and earned more than $35,000 total for the two years.
Mrs Trow was found to not have been employed by either of these companies in 2005 or 2007 and was therefore not entitled to the refunds claimed.
Katherine Regional Enterprise was found to have not commenced operation until 2007.
Between 2013 and 2016, Mrs Trow also received more than $71,000 in Centrelink benefits but did not report to Centrelink any of the employment details that she submitted to the ATO in her income tax returns.
Mr Mendoza said it was astounding that anyone thought they could get away with such brazen fraud against the tax system.
“This kind of tax fraud is particularly shocking because it involves people blatantly claiming money to which they’re not entitled – effectively stealing from their fellow Australians
“The ATO has sophisticated systems and analytics to spot red flags. We are receiving more real-time information from employers than ever before making it easier for us combat this type of dishonest behaviour,” Mr Mendoza said.
Mrs Trow was convicted of:
- 3 counts of obtaining a financial advantage by a deception, contrary to section 134.2(1) Criminal Code (Cth); and
- 3 attempts of obtain a financial advantage by a deception, contrary to sections 11.1 and 134.2(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).
The maximum penalty for this charge is 10 years imprisonment.
If you are aware of fraudulent behaviour in our community you can report it confidentially at ato.gov.au/tipoff or call 1800 060 062.